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Game Difficulty

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1Game Difficulty Empty Game Difficulty on Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:51 am

Nadster


A-Rank
I was thinking about this type of topic when I saw this video.

2Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:27 am

Birdman


Moderator
Not sure. As long as there are harder modes it doesn't hurt me.

On the other hand, why can't people just learn mechanics?

Git gud is actually the answer in a lot of cases. If you don't want to do this, watch it on Youtube.

3Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:33 am

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
Gah, I always scare when I see an unexpected face so zoomed in haha! Takes me by surprise. But to me there's two types of games, ones that start easy but get hard on harder settings that switch things up (i.e. Ninja Gaiden) or those that are hard from the outset (i.e. Shinobi PS2). I'm not a big fan of titles being hard for hard sake or only having hard number increases on higher settings.

Though I am always in favour of multiple difficulty modes honestly.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

4Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:50 am

KSubzero1000

KSubzero1000
C-Rank
I'm torn on this, honestly.

I find design integrity to be very important, and I don't like the idea of the audience tweaking parts of the experience to suit their pre-conceptions of what the game should be. Same reason I'm not a huge fan of mods. I understand why people do this, but that's not really the way I prefer to interact with the medium. More options doesn't automatically make a game better, and in some cases actively detract from the core design philosophy. Fire Emblem Awakening comes to mind, among many other examples. Some games benefit from having various difficulty modes and some don't.

I don't have an enormous amount of sympathy for those who keep complaining about FROM games being too difficult because they're used to mash buttons until they hit the credits. Those games aren't difficult for difficulty's sake. Challenge and tension are integral parts of their design philosophy and to demand shortcuts simply because you can't be bothered to play it properly reeks of entitlement.

With all that said, there is a separate conversation to be had about making games playable for disabled people. I hate the idea of players being excluded over things outside of their control. Button remapping and color-blind options should be mandatory, for example. But when it comes to game design and balancing itself, I haven't heard of any sustainable solution. Some have suggested putting some sort of a debug mode in every game, but I'm afraid it would end up negatively impacting the "culture" in the long run.

5Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:58 pm

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
I think it's important to keep in mind who your audience is and who you are making it for. A title like Dark Souls is made for people that want a game that is at least somewhat challenging on the first run, offers experimentation and mystery. I will say that I personally would like to see more games toy with higher settings though. Ninja Gaiden II, it being the talk currently and on my mind, did this pretty nicely with the base setting being fine for most of the people around while Master Ninja is absolutely nuts even for veteran players.

Totally agree about accesibility. While not in a gameplay regard (slowing the game down), controler remapping, color-blind options and perhaps other ways to tweak your game should be mandatory. Team Ninja's Action/Movie mode option from Nioh and DoA6 are musts too. It also just makes games way more playable. Sekiro was saved for me because I could customize the controls completely. Though a bit too much maybe, the ability in GoW2018 to disable QTEs was also welcomed.

About design and balance, it's a hard topic. There's something to be said about both sides. Personally I feel people should just leave a game alone and see where the meta takes it.

And don't get me started on Fire Emblem: Waifu's Awakening.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

6Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:02 am

5does


C-Rank
>Should every game have ez mode
Nah, though every game should have clutches or OP stuff scattered across the game to create a pseudo-easy mode for most players. I don't get this fixation mainstream players have with labels, like why are so many "hardcore" Souls players upset over the idea of Souls having a easy mode when the game has so many ways to break the game(Overleveling, certain builds, co-op, etc). The only thing easy mode really adds to a game is a clear "I give up" option to players which just promotes laziness instead of having them go around scooping for info and trying stuff before actually declaring that they give up on the current setting of the game. It's also worth nothing that op tools and stuff usually carry over and are of use to higher difficulties while easy mode just adds a difficulty that wastes dev time and doesn't really offer anything to the difficulties of the game as a whole.
In other words, acessibility is always nice but there are other more productive ways to implement them into the game, I think From does a absolute wonderful job at balancing their games without the need of a easy mode. If you look at Souls forums you'll notice that there is a massive amount of discussion about strats and gameplay even in among the most casual players, this sort of phenomenom wouldn't happen if every game would just give you the "I give" button for free.


Raeng:
>I'm not a big fan of titles being hard for hard sake.
This is why I usually avoid fanmade games like the plague, there's so many of them that are just created as an attempted of claiming the idiotic "hardest game ever" badge. Most never care about consistency or the enjoyment players will get from their game and instead just opt for "let's see how frustrating we can make a game be for the sake of it".

>Personally I feel people should just leave a game alone and see where the meta takes it.
I agree, considering how many other games are out there it feels silly that people are willing to tinker with a game they clearly don't like that much(else they wouldn't be going as far as modify it to meet their tastes), people should just accepted the shortcomings of games and be willing to deal with it instead of modding everything into oblivion and creating this weird disparity between your(seemgly) perfect experience against everyone else experiencing the real game.

SubZero:

>Same reason I'm not a huge fan of mods.
Never really enjoyed mods as well, I get how they can expand a game's lifecycle and whatsoever but I don't like the disparity that it's create between everyone's experience such as "Oh you had X problem? Just mod it!" or stuff like "Man this game is so fun, all you gotta do is install these 84 mods in a specific order", it just feels insane to me but maybe I'm just too old fashioned.

7Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:18 am

Birdman


Moderator
OTF WEAPON SWITCHING MOD IN NG2 WHEN???

8Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:24 am

5does


C-Rank
Probably not as "important" as a mod to remove offscreen projectiles.

9Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Fri Apr 19, 2019 3:04 am

Nadster


A-Rank
You can say the same thing with other games like Metal Gear Rising with the Boss Weapons. Then again I am not familiar with mods due to no experience with them. Sometimes I wonder if the games should have them or not.
For those who like TV Tropes
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RealTimeWeaponChange

10Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:35 pm

Gregorinho

Gregorinho
B-Rank
I expect my opinion to be quite unpopular, but here goes!

Generally, I think all games should have multiple difficulty settings, and where possible one of those should be an "Easy" mode. Seeing as this discussion seems to have started as a result of From Software's games, I'll discuss them first.

I have no issues at all with From creating difficult games. "Hard" is different for everyone, but I think it's safe to say everybody on this forum wants to be challenged by the games they play. I think the thing to consider is that players that want to be challenged can be at totally different skill levels. If I use myself as an example, I have never beaten a Souls-like title and I definitely find them challenging. However, the reason I lose interest in the games isn't directly because of the difficulty, but because of how much progress the player loses on death. I really don't enjoy having to fight the same encounters over and over, or alternatively skip them and end up collecting fewer Souls which means you're more restricted with unlocks/upgrades. I know most players are perfectly happy with how this progression works, but for arguments sake, let's say From were to change it to cater to people like me. I think there are two paths they could take:
- They could add in an easier difficulty, increasing the player's chance of succeeding in any combat scenario.
- Alternatively, they could keep the base difficulty unchanged, but add in more checkpoints to reduce the amount of progress (and time) lost by failing.

Either of these changes would make it much easier for me to stay interested in the game. I spent nearly 2 hours fighting Vergil on SoS difficultly in DMC5 last week because I refused to use any orbs to revive, so I persevered until I managed to string together a good run against the boss. Despite me finding it difficult, and having to retry many times, I really enjoyed training and improving until I succeeded. It was a massive help that, upon failing, I was able to retry and be back in the fight within 30 seconds. It should really be much quicker than this, but compared to From's titles it was a godsend. The Trials games and N+ allow you to restart levels instantly at the press of a button, which helps to remove a lot of the tedium you might experience from repeated failure.

Ultimately, I think its more important to consider how players will perceive progression than it is to worry about whether they'll find the game too hard. If the game is fun and the mechanics are solid, players will want to "git gud" rather than feel they have to. I think it's fine to expect players to get good, but I think it's good to help encourage players to get good rather than put them off

The comparison I made isn't the fairest, but I don't think action games of the Capcom/Platinum mould lose anything by offering an Easy mode. If anything, it might give less skillful players more incentive to improve by making the difficulty curve (in terms of all of the games difficulties) smoother. Less skilled players can feel satisfied by beating Easy mode just as more skillful players will feel satisfied by beating the top difficulties.

I haven't really taken the concept of design integrity in to account as I'm unsure of my feelings on that. Also, as others have mentioned, making games more accessible for disabled people is its own issue entirely and completely detached from game difficulty IMO.

11Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:25 pm

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
Not at all. Please, don't fear for unpopularity of your opinion here. To me they all matter as long as it isn't offensive and respectful to others :)

Personally Multiple Difficulty settings have proven to be a very good idea since they allow any type of player to actually enjoy a title. The downside of them for me is that they tend to be halfassed. For every Ninja Gaiden, there's a Force Unleashed that just cranks up the numbers to insane degrees without thinking of the consequences.

If Easy, Normal and Hard were universal, it would be better. For instance in Vanquish Hard is still piss easy, but in Shinobi Easy is still plenty hard. Because of this it tends to be a bit of a grey area since you never really know what's going to be expected of you. I remember starting Yakuza 3 on Hard since the others were really easy even on Hard, but that one was insanely difficult. And then Yakuza 4 was suddenly super easy on Hard. You get my point!

I think having presets is fine, but adding custom features is best. I don't know if anyone here played Xcom: Enemy Unknown, but it dealt with it in a novel way that I wish more did. You had your typical difficulty settings of Easy, Normal, Hard etc that changed up enemy layouts and such. But you also had 'custom' modifiers like PermaDeath, autosave instead of manual, long-campaign, and others. It is what I wished Resident Evil 2 Remake did for the Ink Ribbons, make it a custom option instead of connecting it to Hardcore Mode. I love my Resident Evils and when I can, I want Ink Ribbons. But I tend to always start my games on Normal (yeah yeah) to just enjoy the title. But now I was forced to go the Hardest mode immediately. A shame.

A loss of progress is a hard one, I feel there should never be a full loss which Souls tends to do. God Hand is a good example of how to handle loss. If you die you lose all progress in the mission, but keep the gold you earned. Meanwhile in other games you might keep something else. I really hate it when a death means "redo everything". Recently I was playing The Force Unleashed and there was a hard fight that I wasn't sure how to deal with. But when I died I had to redo two other fights. It just wastes your time.

There's a neat little article about Easy Mode by Shane, a guy I talked to a lot when booting this site up originally:
https://medium.com/@shanedent20xx/ninja-gaiden-black-has-an-incredible-easy-mode-93847ce93505
He was going to be my guest writer, but eventually had other obligations. I think this article really nails why an Easy mode is a fine addition.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

12Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:14 am

Birdman


Moderator
If the game is fun and the mechanics are solid, players will want to "git gud" rather than feel they have to. I think it's fine to expect players to get good, but I think it's good to help encourage players to get good rather than put them off

They need to remove trophies for harder modes then. These things infect people's minds.

I've lost count of how many topics asking if there's a trophy tied to the harder modes, and even more complaints.

You can add easy, but what tends to happen is they still WANT to beat hard. When they can't, they complain for nerfs and shit. So essentially, they want an easy more called 'hard', lolwtf?

Removing any form of unlockable or trophy would solve that for them, then it can go back on the shelf with the lie that the game was 'mastered'.

On the other hand, having that incentive to beat hard could generate learning to play but in my experience, they don't really want to and get furious when you try to explain stuff.



Last edited by Birdman on Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:00 am; edited 1 time in total

13Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:13 am

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
Good point about the trophy, reason why Vanquish never saw any grief about it since God Hard didn't have one. Even I fell victim to this once.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

14Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:48 am

Nadster


A-Rank


I think this would be a good place to put this video. What do you guys think of games belittling and mocking you if you cheated or selected easy?

15Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:45 am

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
For selecting Easy is debatable, depends on the game. Wouldn't put it in a Mario title, but it felt quite at home in Ninja Gaiden Black. For using cheats - also depends. If the game sees that you've already beaten the game etc, then I see no need. I use cheats and trainers a lot after I beat a game to derp around with stuff for instance.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

16Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Sat May 18, 2019 11:19 pm

CKR


D-Rank
This video (from Assualt Android Cactus devs) goes into the rationale to not include difficulty levels.

Here is the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hO7cX8ff58Y

To sum up the part of the discussion in the video that pertains to this discussion, they wanted to include things that were helpful to new players without sacrificing the depth at higher levels.  They felt that including difficulty levels would be like creating multiple games.  This could hurt the end product because of the lack of focus.  There view was to create a cohesive whole that could cater to everyone.

17Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Sun May 19, 2019 8:18 am

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
I'll give that one a look soon, good post! Personally the beauty of higher difficulty levels is that they, together, form the whole game. Ninja Gaiden Black is a journey from Normal to Master Ninja with constant changes while still improving as a player. That keeps it interesting for me.

You hear it a lot more that developers notice this and then decide against it, i.e. FromSoftware who want everyone to be on an equal playing field. I do feel you can always circumvent losing depth through 'overpowered' abilities, like the God Hand unleash in said game, or something like Ninpo in Ninja Gaiden that veteran players can avoid using while casual players can rely on them.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

18Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Sun May 19, 2019 4:42 pm

CKR


D-Rank
I do not mind difficulty levels.  I tend to prefer games that add to the difficulty organically through a good scoring system.  Assault Android Cactus does this through the chaining mechanic.  It is much easier to survive than to score. I love these type of systems.

I really loved Strider 2 when I was in my teens.  I can’t remember all the bonus categories any more, but the main focus of the scoring was no damage, time, and item collection.  Recently, Volgarr the Viking has a similar setup.  I love those two games.

I have been reading the posts on here and it has somewhat soured me on the 3-D combat action games because high level play revolves around challenge runs.  I have no problem if people enjoy that.  Personally, I prefer a game that holds up at a high level through good scoring mechanics that encourage risk/reward.  

The survival missions in Ninja Gaiden II seems to be the only the 3-D combat game that has this.  I wouldn’t mind giving the Platinum games a shot, but the constant reloading of checkpoints is in my opinion bad design.  I would like to see an incentive for full chapter runs.

Those are my current opinions.  I have spent alot of time thinking about difficulty, game length, and scoring.  Maybe my views will change, but I grew up in the 90s when this mentality was more common.  Hopefully, more games come along that cater to my sensibilities.

I will leave some video examples of great score play from various genres.

- Panzer Dragoon Orta

- Ninja Gaiden II

- Assault Android Cactus

- Volgarr the Viking

- Sin and Punishment


19Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:47 pm

Nadster


A-Rank
What do you guys consider what is a fair challenge and an unfair challenge?

20Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:31 am

Birdman


Moderator

21Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:01 am

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin

https://stinger.actieforum.com

22Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:38 am

vert1

vert1
D-Rank
Should every game have an easy mode? No. New player experience definitely should be taken into consideration in regards to difficulty, but some game genres (i.e. survival horror) designed with an easy mode destroys the entire concept. It takes time to properly implement these modes. Does the developer start with the easy mode in mind first or design it later?

From what I can tell these complaints are a cumulative effect of the following: (i) manuals, magazine advertisements, and large evocative game descriptions on the back of boxes that used to forewarn the player how challenging tackling the game would be are gone; (ii) through the demise of cheat codes / Game Sharks / Action Replay; (iii) lack of game titles that denote a hard version, such as Hyper Lode Runner, which is a perfect representation of a game's core concept progressing to the extreme in a mere 10 levels. Beating a level moves to a constricted experience of beating segment(s) at the highest difficulty; (iv) the easier or "main game-lite" handheld spin-off action/fighting games don't exist now; and (v) generations born into the easy mode of game saving.

It's amusing that FromSoftware is seen as the difficulty game company. I'm far more fascinated observing what Nintendo is doing in regards to difficulty; they have a much greater responsibility to maintain a certain level of difficulty for everyone. From the Super Guide (cpu takes over and beats the level for you), Rewind Feature in NES/SNES titles on Switch Online, Golden Tanooki Suit in Super Mario 3D World, to deceptively simple mechanics easy to grasp by newcomers and hard to master for veterans, etc.

23Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Wed Jan 29, 2020 4:41 pm

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
It is always a hard sell, but I admit to being a player that used to need Easy Modes. I only beat my first Resident Evil on Easy, same with my first Ninja Gaiden. Some people are very slow learners. For instance in Resident Evil 4 I really tried to beat it on Normal, but just straight up got stuck at the U3 boss due to lack of ammo and started anew on Easy. Then worked my way up to finally beating the game Handgun Only on Pro as well as other runs. It really depends on the player.

What I think is important with difficulty modes is clear communication. What mode is “the mode”. And does it hamper other modes? DMC5 is built for SoS with other difficulties mostly being slapped on. Dark Souls is made for NG, not NG+, with later modes just feeling tacked on. Ninja Gaiden is made for Master Ninja etc.

There’s no shame in saying “this mode is for people that are slow on the uptake” and even mock people for it like Doom or Ninja Gaiden did with the difficulty names.

There’s nothing more frustrating than starting a game and thinking “oh I can handle Normal”, while this game’s Normal is easy compared to another game’s Hard etc. Yakuza isn’t even consistent with this within its own franchise. The series is insanely easy, so you pick hard. But in Yakuza 3 Normal is already brutal and Hard is just a test in patience with boss-health meters that rival Birdman’s gaming-backlog in size; that’s inconsistent.

I do think that core games have focussed to much on Normal and Easy, while Hard has become nothing more than “you take more damage and enemies are sponges now” which hampers the appeal for most players. Pair that with a more cinematic push, and players aren’t used to a game biting back anymore. This leads to easily frustrated players when a game does bite back.

I do feel Nintendo does difficulty well when they do tackle it, mostly regarding to their easy modes. They are just options, they don’t get into the way.

But yeah I do feel every game should have some sort of “slow” mode to an extent, a mode that allows starting out players to dive in slower. A game loses nothing. You can even communicate it, as noted before. Want to start Dark Souls on easy? Give a short message:
“ Dark Souls is made to be enjoyed on Normal Mode, playing on easy could hamper the rewarding experience for you” blabla you get the idea.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

24Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:29 pm

Birdman


Moderator
I find these days I go with normal more than I used to. It's not that I've gotten worse, but that I don't have time when it comes to new games. I want to know if the game is something I'd even want to keep and replay.

Started Kiwami on normal for this very reason. I've only played Y2 on PS2 so long ago I barely remember it, so Kiwami is the first I'm playing seriously. I didn't want to be stuck on hard mode for a game I might not end up ever touching again.

25Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:02 am

hedfone

hedfone
A-Rank
>The series is insanely easy
The only true flaw of the series IMO. I always start a new Yakuza game, Base Health/No Items. Without that it is a joke, though I have hundreds of hours on those titles.
Some older Yakuza games forced health upgrades to get moves, I can't stand it. The newer ones seemed to have learned that is shit.

I find that most games never require the player to learn the mechanics unless they bump it up.
Asura's Wrath is a prime example. Yakuza as well. Do a boss on Y3 hard then on normal, it's like a completely different game.
I guess it really depends on if the difficulty is purely health, or there is actual AI changes.
Since I don't have time to play through most things twice, I always go as hard as I can.
I will occasionally download a pc save for titles that have locked difficulties, to play it at it's hardest first go. Something you couldn't do on 360.
I did this with spec ops the line and god damn is that game brutal, but in a good way.
I stopped playing DMCV because of the braindead difficulty. Saves were ID locked there.

26Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:19 pm

Infinity_Divide

Infinity_Divide
A-Rank
>difficulty not consistent in Yakuza

Yeah, I found 0 incredibly easy on Hard yet Kiwami had some parts that completely aggravated me on Hard. So then I played Y6 on Normal and it was way, way too easy.

Here’s how I tend to approach difficulty: I always go for hard for a first playthrough because a lot of games are too easy/braindead on normal, but also because a lot of bad games I’ve played completely fall apart as you go up in difficulty, or the difficulty itself isn’t handled well. If I start on Hard I get to just see these things right away instead of wasting my time with an entire play through of Normal. I started Jedi FO on Hard and I’m glad I did, since I think the difficulty is handled pretty well and it’s making me think without being annoying with damage sponges and other nonsense.

27Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:37 pm

Birdman


Moderator
After completing Valkyria Chronicles, I'm starting to wonder what true difficulty actually is.

In VC, and I mentioned this in the topic, I realized that the enemies could wipe you out any time they wanted. Why? Here's some examples.

My tank has 3 tanks with 15 turns on the enemy phase and they choose NOT to destroy my tank in 3 hits.

A lancer walks right past the weak point of my tank and chooses to shoot one of my shock troopers.

Then sometimes they do shoot the weak point. Or they don't use another turn to get behind my tank. Either there are hidden enemy rules or the game is just random.

Sometimes they just end their phase when they have 20 moves.
Why not use them?

RPG difficulty doesn't really mean much when you win if you grind and lose when you don't.

So far something like NG2 or Vanquish on hardest modes seem to be the real examples of true difficulty because you have to keep up and one hit is going to crush you.

High HP isn't difficulty.
Trial and error Souls isn't difficulty.

Just throwing out observations. Nothing really set in stone just what I've been thinking recently.

28Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:44 am

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
There was a pretty good article a while back, I could find it if I really searched I think, but it was about that difficulty was scaling just how badly the AI holds back. In Street Fighter the AI could technically ignore all the rules. In Red Alert the AI can read your inputs. In Ninja Gaiden there's limiters in place as to how agressive they are and how many enemies are allowed to attack at the same time.

RPG's are notoriously difficult to balance I feel since enemies will either rofl-stomp you, or you win by default. I've been playing Golden Sun again and Saturos has one move that deals around 50% damage to the party. If he'd do that 3-4 times in a row, I'd be dead. Instead he sometimes does a regular attack. Or he 'deludes' one of my characters (a debuff). Or he blocks. It's giving the idea that he's a warrior trying to play it smart by mixing it up, keeping the fight interesting. But he's not 'giving it his all' I would say if you get me.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

29Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:09 am

Birdman


Moderator
I'm really curious about how Blue Dragon handles Impossible mode. On normal in the DLC dungeon there are some hard hitting enemies and bosses but they can't beat a full power team.


30Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:46 am

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
I think difficulty in RPGs is best begotten by interestingly designed enemy compositions as opposed to just straight up nukes. In a longer dungeon a single fight shouldn't kill you imo, but the enemies over time. It might be 'annoying', but a cave with enemies that slowly drain your resources for instance like mana, or slowly wittle away your health, can make a dungeon more dangerous.

Otherwise, I found the Star Magician in Golden Sun to be quite inventive. He's a boss that summons orbs. The boss himself isn't too dangerous, but he has orbs that all have unique abilities. One orb constantly casts a shield, another heals, another attacks the party and another is more a caster. So you're constantly juggling which orbs you prioritize, but you also have to focus on the boss, otherwise the fight goes on forever. Really cool engagement that feels like it actually wants you to use the game's mechanics. The game's superboss Dahullan is the opposite, he's just a plain damage rush and his only worthwhile feature is that he can OHKO your entire party whenever he wants.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P3HRs9E8SQ

https://stinger.actieforum.com

31Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:02 am

Birdman


Moderator
That's sounds cool.

The BD DLC dungeon has some cool stuff like some chests or search points poison or petrify one or more characters while forcing a fight, and these aren't blocked by accessories. You can heal them but you'll start the battle at a disadvantage.

There are password doors that do the same of you get them wrong.

A lot of the enemies have interesting mechanics you don't see in the main game. Almost every fight including bosses come with one or two wizards that can triple ally attack and magic power. Taking these guys out is a priority. You can use Erase to remove the buffs too.

One enemy has a brutal multi-hit counter if you dare to use a physical attack.

There are no monster fights in here but one group has a monster that can 'equip' another and get a very powerful move.

Some bosses have special properties that you won't know without experimenting. The Pirate Queen boss can be staggered by earth magic for example. She's really fast and isn't affected by Trapfloor.

I'll detail some of these more in the BD topic later.

But even with these mechanics, they can never wipe out my team. At best I need to heal a little more. One boss charged up and killed most of my characters in one big attack. That was the only time I got a game over. In the next fight I used Wall and took other defensive measures as well as using the spell Cancel that cancels an enemy charge.

32Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Fri Jun 12, 2020 12:29 am

Khayyaam

Khayyaam
D-Rank
RPG difficulty is always a hard thing to talk about because many people assume that difficulty is primarily a "technical" or "execution" thing. I think one aspect of difficulty, and this goes for any game not just RPGs, that many people miss out is the challenge of, well, figuring it out. Most games don't tell you the answer, part of the challenge is puzzling it out. It's common for people to not only grind, but also to look up guides, for RPGs, so if you do that, the challenge of "puzzling" is gone. When you know what to do and you grinded til you're strong enough, there's no difficulty (and no game really, you're just following a set of instructions.) Figuring out each fight (from many smaller enemies to a big boss) and coming up with your own strat with the resources you have is the challenge.

Take Octopath Traveler for example. The battle flow involves attacking an enemy's weaknesses (elemental and weapon type) to wear down their armor and stun them, losing their turn and lowering their defense. If you looked up the weaknesses that's a big aspect of difficulty just straight up gone, and can't be replaced with any sort of action elements since it's a purely turn based game. But the weakness slots (the number there are and the fact that each element and weapon is displayed in a particular order) can make it really fun to experiment and puzzle out what they're weak to.

33Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Sat Jun 13, 2020 2:26 am

vert1

vert1
D-Rank
Gotta dodge people spoiling that stuff online too. In person, I remember getting stuck at the end fight of the Ninja Gaiden 2 [360] demo and my roommate who barely played these types of games beating it with ease doing an UT, which I had not considered using at all. Puzzle-action elements can be really satisfying to solve when you've got full command of the moveset but they almost always screw me over; otherwise, it almost seems like they're a bypassed difficulty entirely due to someone elses' talking about the game as that tends to be the first thing people will spoil.

I'm real curious for people who beat or played each game how many "puzzle" parts did you figure out on your own. These are some notable moments I remember:
- Ninja Gaiden 2 [360]: the
Spoiler:
turtle
boss. haha.
- Resident Evil 4 [GC]:
Spoiler:
Krauser's special weakness
- Metroid: Other M [Wii]: multiple one solution moments. Pretty sweet when you can pull it off the first time or eventually figure it out in an "aha moment".
- Maximo [PS2]: one move is required on a certain boss.
- Ken's Rage [360]: killing the boss requires performing a special randomized series of button presses. Always goofed this up. (I know this isn't particularly a puzzling action bit, but it's still a one-dimensional.)

34Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:02 am

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
What's the puzzle with the turtle? You mean that you have to block the explosion near the end? I did that instinctively since he was exploding so it was more an immersive thing. Actually it wasn't until later that I didn't do it and died, made me laugh haha. RE4's knife weakness came to me during my pro-run, wanted to try some knife stuff on him to save ammo and noticed he got nuked.

Sadly 14(?) year old me went to Gamefaqs to proclaim "Krauser on Pro takes more damage from the knife" which got be blasted apart haha. Ah to be young.

That said, Google and Youtube really do put a hamper on these things. Same with unlockable cutscenes that you can now just look up. I remember when I finally saw Metroid Prime's 100% ending, so cool, felt like I was part of this exclusive club.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

35Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:38 pm

vert1

vert1
D-Rank
Yeah, that's what I am referring to in Ninja Gaiden 2. 'Developer pranks', maybe.

Heh. If there is one thing I distinctly remember back then it's that EB Games heavily enforced the 17 and up rating the year Resident Evil 4 came out.

36Game Difficulty Empty Re: Game Difficulty on Sat Jun 13, 2020 7:09 pm

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
Only once in my life did I have to show my ID, and ironically it was with Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles on the Wii. No clue as to why.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

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